It’s one of those things the natural medicine people and movement have said for decades: pot kills cancer. Naturally, in the United States, since the 1950s, cannabis, the plant that produces marijuana, pot, mary jane, weed, etc., has been illegal to grow and sell, so for a long time it was verboten to actually test out the theory. In the last few years, though, multiple studies have been conducted with the intent of developing new drugs investigating the purported efficacy of cannabis in relation to the big C, as a pain killer, a nausea drug, an anti-inflammatory, among other uses.
According to the National Cancer Institutes website, a number of discoveries have been made in the last few years and have been reported in peer reviewed journals. Thanks to Natural Society for assembling the list:
Cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.
- Cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of the colon and may have potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly in its treatment.
- A laboratory study of delta -9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed it damaged or killed the cancer cells. The same study of delta-9-THC in models of liver cancer showed that it had anti-tumor effects. Delta-9-THC has been shown to cause these effects by acting on molecules that may also be found in non-small cell lung cancer cells and breast cancer cells.
- A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies of metastatic breast cancer showed that cannabinoids may lessen the growth, number, and spread of tumors.
- A laboratory study of cannabidiol in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells. Studies showed that CBD together with delta-9-THC may make chemotherapy such as temozolomide more effective.
All of these studies have been done on laboratory animals prior to study in humans. As yet, there are no human trials reported. What we do know, though, about “cannabinoids,” the substances made from compounds coming from the cannabis plant, is that they DO stimulate appetite, and they have been studied for pain relief, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The national medical library online confirms it.
Marijuana, at this time, remains a schedule I drug and is considered to be as addictive as opiates. Despite this, there is a national movement to legalize the weed, uh, plant at least for medicinal purposes by the states. And now the Federal government, at least the National Cancer Institute is starting to show signs of admitting the stuff works. Stay tuned.